One of my devotional readings this morning led me to Genesis and the story of Jacob. Jacob’s name meant “deceiver” and he lived up to every bit of it. His mom concocted a plan to deceive his dad, Isaac, who at the time was old and blind, into thinking Jacob was actually his older brother Esau. Jacob’s only problem with this plan was that it might not work. Rest assured, his mom had covered every aspect of this plan, so together, they conned Isaac into giving his “elder son” blessing to his “younger son.” You’ll have to delve into Genesis yourself to get the dirty details of what this little act set off!
Now you need to understand that God chose Jacob as the son promised the covenant that God had cut with Abraham, his grandfather, and passed to Isaac, his father. Time and space doesn’t allow me to get into the details of all a covenant entails, but this particular covenant included the promise of a seed which actually turns out to be Jesus. (see Galatians 3: 16 to verify)
We won’t wade into the discussion of their power grab vs. God’s choice although, as humans, many times we get way ahead of God! But God chose Abraham, then Isaac, then Jacob, whose name was eventually changed to Israel. He had 12 sons, the 12 tribes of Israel, to whom the covenant was passed. (There is a wonderful Precept Upon Precept study called Knowing God’s Covenant that I recommend for all believers!)
Think about this: The deceiver became the one to receive the covenant promises!
I was appalled and humbled at the same time as I let this sink in. Jacob most certainly didn’t deserve this blessing!!!!!! That just doesn’t seem right or fair or even sensible. Actually, none of this Genesis story makes much sense to our pea brains. Why would God choose a heathen to become the father of the Jewish people? But He did. He called Abraham out of the land of the Chaldeans to go to a place He would show him. Abraham did some pretty lame things as did his son Isaac, yet God blessed them with covenant promises.
There is really only one word to describe this – GRACE. Well, maybe 2; Grace and mercy.
Jacob deserved to be wiped from the list, but God chose to show him grace and mercy.
Grace is the humbling factor in this. When I think about who I am and what I deserve from God, I shudder. My life may look pretty good to the world, but before a holy and righteous God, I am no better than Jacob. Apart from Christ, I am a sorry mess, full of sin and deception. And although you may not want to hear this, so are you.
What I “deserve” is death and hell, yet I have life; life ransomed by God’s only Son on a cruel cross.
Why do I have life? Because in God’s grace, He chose to show me mercy instead. Let that roll around in your head for a few moments. He didn’t HAVE to give me life, but He did.
Forgive me, Lord, for taking this gift of grace lightly. Forgive me for failing to remember the great cost, the great agony, my life required. Forgive me when I continue to think I am my own when the truth is I was bought by You with a price. I belong to You now. Forgive my lack of obedience, my failure to represent You in true fashion, my carelessness in sharing Your gift to others. Forgive me for allowing things I find ways to justify as approved by You to be stumbling blocks to others. Give me courage, Father, to lay every area of my life before You with the willingness to set aside any part that doesn’t honor You. Some of those things won’t be easy. My flesh likes them too much! Show me, Lord, how to stand strong on Your Word while loving those that don’t. Fill me with Your grace, Your mercy, Your compassion.
My life is blessed beyond measure. Even in the tough times, the really hard times, it is still a good and blessed life because God is a good Father. He is a Father that I can trust with all of my being, knowing He has my best in mind even when it doesn’t feel so good.
It was good to be reminded through the story of Jacob of His precious grace in my life.
“Marvelous grace of our loving Lord, Grace that exceeds our sin and our guilt!
Yonder on Calvary’s mount outpoured, There where the blood of the Lamb was spilled.
Marvelous, infinite, matchless grace, Freely bestowed on all who believe!
You that are longing to see His face, Will you this moment His grace receive?
Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that will pardon and cleanse within;
Grace, grace, God’s grace, Grace that is greater than all our sin!” *
Lots of love, Sharon
*(Grace Greater Than Our Sin by Julia H. Johnston, vs 1 and 4, plus chorus)